Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

Recently, C3 Operations Manager, Maria Aimone, and I had the privilege of participating in the Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Careers Expo held at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. Given that Maria and I do not have much experience with career fairs, we were not sure what to expect. However, we were very impressed! All totaled, there were 390 high school seniors from 12 different school districts and 24 high schools who participated, and many of these young people used the opportunity to investigate the many job opportunities available to them as they graduate high school and possibly enter the construction workforce.

C3 passed out information regarding the wage scales of various craft trades in the construction industry compared to other jobs in different professions. We also distributed documentation that described the cost of a college education in Texas versus the income-earning opportunity available to an individual entering the construction craft workforce today.    Read more » about Craft Career Opportunities in the Construction Industry

The owner of a commercial subcontracting company which specializes in metal studs, drywall, and acoustical ceilings was arraigned last month on workplace misclassification violations and perjury charges for lying to a grand jury about them.  He faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison with a $45,000 fine, if convicted.

According to an article by Anthony Salamone in The Morning Call, a daily newspaper serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, Mark J. White, owner of Salukas & White Contracting Inc. located in Bethlehem, PA was found by a Northampton County grand jury to have violated PA’s Construction Workplace Misclassification Act by “misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors – instead of employees – to avoid paying fair wages as well as taxes and workers' benefits such as unemployment insurance.”

The article goes on to report:

“In addition, the grand jury found that from 2011 through 2013, White and the company funneled nearly $900,000 to individuals, one of whom was described as a middleman, who ‘acted as ATM machines’ in paying those workers off the books.  The actions defrauded the state and other entities of thousands of dollars in taxes, authorities allege. ...   Read more » about Commercial Subcontractor Charged for Worker Misclassification and Perjury

October 1, 2015 was a star-studded night at the Wortham Theater Center as some of the best and brightest in the construction industry were honored at the Associated Builders and Contractors Greater Houston chapter’s (ABC) annual Excellence in Construction (EIC) Gala.  Member companies submitted their best work to compete in various categories while hoping to win the coveted traveling award: Best of Houston.  Talk about bragging rights!

More than 200 guests attended the dinner and ceremony.  The charismatic Jose Griñan of FOX 26 News was the event’s emcee.  Anxious finalists and guests were treated with light-hearted jokes and words of encouragement as he announced the Merit and ICE award winners throughout the night.

To keep the voting fair, an outside firm was chosen to decide the Best of Houston award winner.  SpawGlass was awarded the Best in Houston Award for the Port Arthur Savings Renovation Project.   Read more » about Recognizing America’s Finest: ABC Houston hosts Annual Excellence In Construction Awards

In an ever-changing economy, people who have recently lost their jobs may need to take a serious look at switching careers by quickly gaining the skills necessary for a good-paying job in the trades. At Houston Community College, for example, their Jumpstart program offers a chance to gain a certification in just four months. That represents a serious opportunity for those who find themselves without work and those just starting out in life who want a shot at a rewarding career.

Kris Asper, Director of the Center of Excellence for Construction at HCC, said a colleague recently told him “community college has become the new graduate school.” Many students seeking a certification already possess a four-year degree and have decided to try a different path to success, he said.    Read more » about Houston Community College Offers a Quick Path to Success

It all started in 1978 when a group of East Harlem teenagers were posed the question of what could be done to improve their community. Their answer was simple: “We’d rebuild the houses...We’d take empty buildings back from the drug dealers and eliminate crime.” And they did.

Built upon these youth’s eagerness to continue improving their community and the communities around them, and with the help of East Harlem Block Schools Executive Director Dorothy Stoneman, YouthBuild was born. Originally founded as the Youth Action Program, which still exists today, YouthBuild USA was established in 1984.   Read more » about Non-Profit Organization Uses Construction to Promote Education and Community Service

The SER-Jobs for Progress 50th Anniversary “Building Our Workforce” Gala on Oct 16 was a huge success.   The event featured a silent auction, dinner, inspirational speakers, and dancing to live music – raising more than $365,000 in support of SER’s life-changing services to the local Houston community.

SER is the Spanish verb which means “to be” and represents the organization’s goals of Service, Employment, and Redevelopment.  SER provides education, training, and employment services to individuals and businesses in socioeconomic-challenged communities.

The Tellepsen Family, who operate one of Houston's most successful family businesses, were honored at the gala.  The four generations of Tellepsens that have led the company for more than 100 years have made giving back to the community a hallmark of the Tellepsen way of doing business.  Nory Angel, CEO and Executive Director of SER, was proud to announce that in 2016 SER is slated to move into Tellepsen’s former corporate headquarters on Telephone Road in the East End.   Read more » about SER Celebrates 50 Years of Building Houston’s Workforce [VIDEO]

The industrial construction renaissance underway along the Texas Gulf Coast brings all sorts of workforce challenges – and educators and industry leaders are working overtime to meet them head on.  Construction Citizen’s team recently traveled to Lake Jackson to check out programs offered at Brazosport College, where they’re stepping up to meet the demands of an estimated $25 billion in industrial construction projects in southern Brazoria County over the next few years.

You read that right: $25 billion in industrial construction is expected in just the southern portion of this geographically isolated county in the next several years.

Anne Bartlett, Brazosport’s Vice President of Industry and Community Resources, holds a unique position.  She is able to cobble together multiple funding streams to make it possible for students to enter the workforce quickly with needed skills.  “We're taking folks who've been on welfare and now they have this awesome job,” Bartlett said with pride.  “It's a life transformational thing that is helping our community as a whole because we're putting more people into the situation where they can be good citizens.”   Read more » about Brazosport College: Partnering With the Community for the Area’s Future [VIDEO]

Craft shortages continue to be a boon for experienced workers who are commanding top pay for their high-demand skills.  On the other hand, rising wages in a shortage environment tend to benefit unskilled workers also, and employers are too often paying premium wages for insufficient training and lower productivity.  Why?  Because bodies are needed and employers must compete for every craft worker.

The Engineering News-Record article titled Craft Pay Ramps Up As Worker Gaps Grow (October 2015), points out that as construction spending increases toward pre-recession peaks, worker pay is following suit, and some employers are seeing the largest pay escalation in decades.  In fact, the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA) projects wage and per diem escalation of 2-4% over the next few years with the most highly skilled crafts expected to grow at the greatest rates.   Read more » about Three Solutions to Improving Project Outcomes Rather Than Just Paying Higher Craft Wages

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